Singer Cancels Jazz Festival Performance Over ‘Slave Song’ Musical

The racist musical theatre production, “Slav,” made white people sing songs about slavery. Despite protests, the festival organizers defended them.



American singer-songwriter Moses Sumney was supposed to perform at the Montreal Jazz Festival. However, he decided to cancel his performance because of a blatant display of racism.

The musician cancelled his appearance after the festival organizers decided to allow performances of the musical show “Slav” at the festival.  The racist musical theatre production described itself as “theatrical odyssey based on slave songs.” It makes white people sing song about slavery, dressing some of them as field slaves and cotton pickers.

Their presence at the festival was naturally disturbing for people of color and people who condemned racism and cultural appropriation. Despite protests all over Canada, the music festival organizers defended the performance.  They also said the organizers are “truly fortunate” that the director (of the racist musical) chose Montreal Jazz for its world premiere.

This is when Sumney decided to withdraw himself for the festival, citing how a black woman was slapped by one attendee of the production while she was protesting.

The 28-year-old also mentioned he could not perform at the festival “on a day sandwiched between Canada Day and Independence Day, two bittersweet holidays that have long left black, brown, and indigenous voices out.”

He explained he cannot perform at the festival “in good conscience." 

The jazz festival’s media relations director, Greg Kitzler, said, “We respect his decision and hope Moses Sumney will perform at the festival in a near future.”

He declined to comment on whether the festival would continue to support the racist musical but mentioned a press release that was planned to release would clarify their position.

Nevertheless, Sumney decided to perform at La Rosa with his band and offered discounted tickets for his fans.

Fans on Twitter couldn’t help but respect Sumney for taking this brave step against bigotry.












Thumbnail/Banner Image: Getty Images, Burak Cingi/Redferns

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